I have literally awoken at times around 3am, my mind for some reason fixating on some plot point or statement. I wonder, “Did I leave *that* out? Did she say that?” It’s a sick feeling that can ruin a night’s sleep.
So far – luckily – whenever I have had that happen, on frantic double-checking I discover everything is fine, and I breathe out. When writing a series, you need a perfect memory. You can’t miss a thing, because even a minor oversight or “misremembering” a tiny “fact” from earlier can prove pretty embarrassing later on.
I’ve been rereading Passports at length over the last few days. It’s the first time I’ve done so in at least a year. As I do, I’m finding I’m also struck by how the books are “evolving” from that opener.
Everything can seem fine. Daily work and life proceeds. We may feel we’ve got it *mostly* under control….
“But then you come walking into a room, and my mind goes somewhere else.” ~ James (in Frontiers)
Indeed and then we’re jolted into reflecting. Amidst all of the hundreds of postings to date here, I have perhaps inadequately acknowledged what’s ultimately most important. Allow me to do so unambiguously.
During our phone chat a few weeks ago (because we weren’t able to get together as hoped), my uncle told me that (based on what he’d read so far) he considered what I write nicely readable. That’s a good thing, though, he asserted. If it’s what I want, I should run with it.
But I thought how that could also be considered a “backhanded” compliment: that it is good enough to sell and attract readers, yeh, but it isn’t “deep.”
Recently I’d also noted a reader who’d written to me that she thought the books belonged in history classes. That is quite a compliment for fiction; but I wasn’t writing history, of course. (As flattering as that may be to hear, I don’t want to scare away potential readers here thinking they’re dry history. They’re not!) Yet “history” would seem pretty “deep” stuff, no?
The other day Kindle sent out a note suggesting we authors optionally “age rate” our books. I thought I’d share it. I’ve removed the superfluous and “personal” parts and screen captured the core of it:
Kindle sends out lots of stuff – some useful, some not. But this just seems a sloppy tech issue from their end. There’s a straightforward reason I haven’t chosen an under-18s level for my novels and Kindle knows it already.
As I was working yesterday on a Distances scene – holiday is over; novels don’t get finished unless YOU finish them – that includes a new character, I was struck by this thought.
The books are built around core characters we know by now. There are others who are prominent regulars too of course: the various parents and certain friends.
However, much as in real life, we have people we know who make an impression and (sometimes sadly) leave us. Often someone has to move on, or we just grow apart. Sometimes they drift back into our lives; but sometimes they never do, or plain cannot:
“No permission is sought, or granted,” Harris wrote. “There is no opt-out clause for authors or publishers. This is censorship, not by the State, but by a religious minority, and if you think it sounds trivial, take a moment to think about this…
“ISIS are currently destroying antiquities and historical sites in the Middle East, including the ancient city of Nimrud, the walls of Nineveh and statues up to 8000 years old.
“And all in the name of purity, morality and good taste.”
Others have condemned the app as “f***ing horrifying,” and apparently laying the foundation for a rerun of the 1933 Nazi Germany mass book burnings. And more.
Based on how strongly so many feel, I did as Harris asked. I did take a moment to think…..